Virtually every active social media user has come across the debate on who served Akwa Ibom state better between the former Governor Godswill Akpabio and the incumbent Udom Emmanuel.
The serial comparison by a certain Iniobong John and his cohorts, attempts to highlight projects and accomplishments of the previous government with the projects of the present government.
While the comparison is ongoing, it is worthy of note that the energy with which the media hirelings dissipate falsehood, transmit propaganda, resonate defamation and hate speech against the government is unfathomable.
Rather than comparing trends, investigating incongruities and calling for interviews, most writers have become lazy, stoic and dependent hungry defamers, cooking up nonexistent stories from the comfort of their homes and reducing their self-worth to a token of chicken change.
As a matter of fact, the best time to compare who served better is not now but after the expiration of the present government’s tenure. Comparison is confirmed when two objects of equal weights are weighed on a balance hence, comparing an 8-year-old government with one which is less than 5 years old is totally unreasonable.
Secondly, leadership has its style, approach and pattern. Every leader coming on board must have carefully understood this and mapped out their strategies for effectiveness.
Good leaders particularly take advantage of the weaknesses of their predecessors and try to bridge the gaps of inadequacies from such angles but importantly, every government has its agenda.
There are visionary leaders, and there are notorious leaders. Both have a way of making impact but the legacies they leave behind are the distinctive works which follow them.
Sadam Hussein for instance was a notorious leader who carried out a lot of developmental projects in Iraq just like Ghaddafi in Lybia, but both nations were blacklisted globally.
Akpabio may have done a couple of projects as claimed by those comparing but Emmanuel is by all stretch of imaginations, better. For one, none of the so called projects of the immediate past regime, as cost intensive as they could be, can be said to be spinning revenue into the State’s coffers.
It takes vision to build a future with certainty and Udom Emmanuel is that visionary leader. His dream from the onset has been to transform Akwa Ibom State from a Civil Service-oriented economy to a private sector-driven society where Akwa Ibomites can be bosses of their own and less dependent on the government for means of livelihood.
The governor’s commitment to the transformation of the state has manifested in the coming on stream of over 18 industries in the state so far, as well as the flagging-off of the Ibom Blue Sea Science and Technology Park by a Chinese consortium which is expected to come into operation in the next 2 or 3 years.
Governor Emmanuel’s four years in office came with a boost of safety of lives and property, peace, more investments, accommodation of political interests, zero intimidation, zero kidnapping spree and zero countless killings which characterized the previous administration.
The summary is that people can now sleep with their two eyes closed; those who fled the state are returning and small scale enterprises are being boosted due to the business-friendly environment and policies of his administration.
The governor’s focus on industrialization is the reason we have the Ibom Deep Seaport on course, Ibom Air which will soon commence Cameroun-Nigerian route and other international operations, as well as other huge income-generating industries which the paid blackmail kingpins are paying a blind eye to.
Thirdly, the economy in which the past administration reigned was far nourished and serviced than what obtains today. Akpabio came and received the arrears of allocation of what Obasanjo had taken, brought back from the onshore offshore dichotomy. So the state allocation was much better then. What is 12 -13billion a month, compared to 40-50billion received during Akpabio’s era.
The then minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had at a public function in 2013 gave the federal government allocation to Akwa Ibom State as $1.7 billion (N260 billion), adding that the infrastructure on ground was not comparable to the revenue accruable.
But in 2018, the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, review showed that Akwa Ibom State received N143.6 billion. With these statistics, it is evident that to whom mush is given, much is expected.
It is even more noteworthy to state that Governor Udom Emmanuel is not seeking applause in his development-drive for the people, neither is he in competition with anybody but is on a serious committed and calculated process of transformation. As such, he cannot be distracted by criticisms which lack merit.
All Akpabio did was for the people of Akwa Ibom and all Emmanuel is doing is still for the people of Akwa Ibom. Rather than glory in the past that was marred by sordid memories and lament the present, those orchestrating these worthless comparisons should wait till 2023, after the expiration of Governor Emmanuel’s tenure before bringing out their scale of comparison.
Then will they be able to tell who served us better and, while they wait, they should channel their energy and resources into encouraging Governor Emmanuel, and desist from Ph.D (Pull him Down) fever.
Richard Peters, a social affairs commentator, resides in Uyo.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.